“Remember to research.“
“I’m sure I blew one interview by expressing my desire to get experience in a program they didn’t offer, and expressing my distaste for the one they did. Oops. I’d mistakenly thought they did offer that program.”
When interviewing at an international school recruitment fair, it is indeed a difficult task to be 100% knowledgeable about each international school you interview with. You do some final researching the night/morning before the interview, but even then some facts about the school might slip your mind when you are most likely in a nervous state trying to answer their questions during the actual interview.
On June 15, 2006 the term, or more correctly the transitive verb, “to google” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary. It seems like that term has been around for ages, and although derived from the eponymous search engine, it has simply become a common use for when you need to look up something, or research something. It is kind of strange to think that only ten or fifteen years ago, if you needed to look up information, phone numbers or directions, you had to have an encyclopedia, a phonebook or a map. Today, everything can be found by a simple click on Google. And with the second coming of the smart phones, there really is no reason to be ignorant when interviewing with an international school administrator.
With the daily flow of new information, we often need to research to get updated or learn about something new, either for work and for our own pleasure. If we need to give a lecture somewhere, we need to set the facts straight, and double-check that what we are actually saying is true. If we’re writing something like a blog or a book, we research.
One place where research is very vital is when we are looking for a new job; especially true if you are looking to secure a job at an international school halfway across the globe. We research the international school itself, the location that the international school is situated in, and we research what it is like to work at that international school. It’s important that we know as much as possible before applying for a position at an international school. Not just to see if we’re right for them, but if they’re right for us. Most work places today have a website that gives away so much information, but sometimes it just isn’t sufficient enough, and that’s when you have to contact the place and people that have worked at that place in the past (or if you know somebody who knows somebody who has worked there) and ask detailed questions.
Researching the job at an international school is half of applying for a job. Unfortunately, doing hours and hours of research on not just one international school but five of them can definitely put you into a tired state.
Being an international teacher means that your research has to be very thorough, because then you’re not just researching the job, you’re also researching a country and a city. It’s important that you know what you want (career, money, love, travel, location, etc…) and what you’re capable of, because starting out some place new, with a different language and a different culture, can be hard. But doing your homework and research might make the transition easier, well on the surface that is.
When you research most of the things you stumble on are interpretations, a subjective view of the whole. A kind of second-hand experience. So while researching is vital, you have to be somewhat skeptical and always remember to have an open mind. Google is, after all, just a small piece of the grand reality.
One excellent way to gather and share information and comments about 1000s of international schools around the world is by being a member at International School Community. Each international school has its own profile page, and on each school profile page there are four sections: School, Benefits, City and Travel. Members of internationalschoolcommunity.com are able to read about and submit their own comments and information in those four sections, all in a very easy to read and organized manner. It is a great way to get a better glimpse into what could be your future life as you venture out into the world to work at your next international school!
“Nine Lessons Learned” taken from The Wonderful World of International School Hiring Fairs article by Clay Burell’s blog Beyond School.
The overseas education of more than four million American children and youth since World War II is an unwritten chapter in the history of American education and represents the schooling of several generations under circumstances unique to human history.
Today the U. S. departments of Defense and State operate or assist more than 300 schools in over 100 foreign countries. Additionally there are more than 600 private American owned or supported schools abroad.
The mission of AOSHS is to collect, record, and preserve the unique history of educating American children and youth abroad; and to enhance public knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the contributions made by American educators and their students in the advancement of democracy around the world.
The American Overseas Schools Archives (AOSA) was first established on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in 1989. The AOSA is dedicated to preserving the history and memorabilia of the kindergarten through grade 12 education of an estimated 4 million American children who attended more than 900 American overseas schools over the past 150 years.
In 1995 the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) was incorporated as a non- profit IRS 501(c)(3) organization. The AOSHS office and archives are located in Wichita, Kansas.
They even have a section called: Overseas Educator Information. There is much information about the teachers that work at these schools. There is a picture on this page showing a reunion of some overseas teachers in Japan. How cool to be reunited with the colleagues that you worked with in another country a long time ago perhaps. I know after being at my third schools now, I am already starting to lose touch with the teachers that I worked with at my first international school.
One part of their website has all the American Overseas schools and their alumni associations listed alphabetically. Some of the schools listed are:
American International School in Vienna
Asociacion Escuelas Lincoln
American International School of Kabul, Afghanistan
Antwerp International School (AIS)
American Cooperative School of La Paz
There are many, many more schools listed on their website here.
Most of the schools listed on the American Overseas Schools Historical Society website are also found on International School Community. Some of the schools listed on our website can be found here (the number of comments and information submitted by our members is also listed next to each school’s link):
v2012.01 – 7 January, 2012:
The Wonderful World of International School Recruitment Fairs: Lesson #5 – “Check your ego at the door.”
“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.” Sigmund Freud.
The greatest sports legends, the inventors of things we rely on today, great actors and actresses, all of these people must seem to have a big ego. Maybe it comes with their achievements or our projections of them? Then there are the great dictators, the generals of war or just some average Joe that just won the biggest-ever on his lottery ticket. Ego comes in many shapes and forms, and albeit some are seemingly more attractive than others. It’s a hard task to know when to enhance or down play your own ego.
We’re constantly told to either just stand in line or be like others, that we don’t really deviate from the mass, that we’re just one in a million, that perhaps we’re not as special as we think. Then we’re told we need to stand out, make a difference, show our true colors, let the ego steer and victory will come our way. So, how are you to act at the international school recruitment fairs?
Ego is an ambivalent thing, you could say that it’s both our chance and our fall. It’s the chance to express ourselves, to enhance our personality to make it clearer how we stand out from the masses, what makes us special, what we’re capable of; how we’re the best of all of them. But there is a line, and if that line is crossed, our personality becomes too big and a bit desperate, we express ourselves in a way so superior to others that we make them feel small, we become way too special, maybe even too good for our own good; we are the best of all of them, no question there, there’s “me” and no one else.
It’s often in job interviews we’re left with the difficult task of being the best and out-shining the competition, but in such a manner that we don’t let our own ego get the better of us, and suddenly instead of standing out positively in the round-robin session or in the administrator’s hotel room during the interview, we stand out negatively instead. It’s practically a game of ego vs. humble. It’s pointing out the things you are good at and how you are the best for the position, but it’s just as much being humble, being likable, charming, sitting straight, smiling, having eye contact, being interested, letting your ego shine from time to time, but not letting it consume the space.
“There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself.” James Lee Burke.
And every so often your ego takes a blow during your experience at a recruitment fair. When you venture in life, there’s always the risk of rejection. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t any international school out there that wants to hire you. It’s basically the same whether you open your heart for someone you love or you are at a job interview, getting that “no” is a sour sting to your ego. And that’s when the inventory begins: should I have? or could I have? Would it have? And so on and so on…
Every mountain we climb in this life should probably have two gates: “for exit hurry” or “in risk of rejection”. We can’t go through life (and through international school recruitment fairs) without getting a little hurt sometimes, without bruising our ego. It’s all part of living as they say; the smart and clever ones. So maybe you didn’t have enough experience, maybe the connection just wasn’t there, or maybe, just maybe someone was just better than you. You know, you shouldn’t take it personal. It just means you get a few more rounds through the “in risk of rejection” gate. And who knows, just one week after the fair, where you weren’t offered any contracts to sign, you might receive in your email inbox the offer from the international school you have been dreaming of working at! Believe us, it is happened many times in our International School Community.
Go ahead and send a private message regarding hiring and fairs to one of our members. International School Community’s current members work at or have worked at 92 international schools! Check out which schools here and start networking today!
· 06 Jan Canadian International School Beijing (5 new comments)
“There is an annual flight allowance, return trip to Canada or equivalent…”
· 06 Jan Berkeley International School (Bangkok) (8 new comments)
“As for the location, it’s very convenient opposite Bitec, close to BTS, Central City Bangna, and to other International Schools such as St Andrews, Patana, CIS and the Mega Bangna super mall…”
· Using the School Profile Search feature on International School Community: Search Result #2
“Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. The possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria…”
· Survey results are in – How many countries have you traveled to so far this year? (in 2011)
“The survey results are in, and it seems as if most visitors and members of International School Community have been to 1-3 countries in 2011. We were thinking that people would have traveled to more countries as a typical international school teacher travels many times throughout the year…”
· Video highlight: St. Stephen’s International School (Bangkok, Thailand)
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”
· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“Within the hearts and minds of the uninformed, there is considerable prejudice against India’s small but growing number of new genre international schools. Left intellectuals and fellow travelers who dominate Indian academia and have considerable influence in the media, naively dismiss them as elitist and expensive…”
· Comments and information about hiring policies on International School Community #2 (Beijing, Seoul and Beirut)
“This school went to the Search Fair in Boston in 2011. The interview was 1 on 1 with the principal. It was quite informal, but he also asked some important interview questions. After the first interview, I receive an offer on contract in my mailbox, so they for sure want to hire at the fair. They were able to allow for a few a day to decide as well which I think is important…”
Teaching and living in “The World’s Happiest (And Saddest) Countries” – According to ForbesAccording to this Forbes article, the top 10 happiest countries are: “Joining Norway and Australia in the top 10 are their neighbors Denmark, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand. Equally small and civilized Switzerland and the Netherlands are also up there. Rounding out the top 10 is the United States at 10th and Canada (sixth).”There are many international schools in most of these countries, offering many opportunities for international school teachers to live very “happy” lives, or so it would appear…
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
International Teaching Fair 2/2010“International Teaching Fairs are the traditional way to connect prospective schools with teachers. I believe technology will be changing this practice more each year as it is less costly to interview via Skype than to send a hiring team around the globe. Skype misses that element of personal connection which can be critical in creating a good fit between staff and school, although some principals with extensive international teacher hiring experience may not see that as a priority. Online portfolios allow the applicant to upload files, photos, even videos and the administrator can choose what they would like to review. If different documents are needed, a quick email to request and a few moments to transfer, is all that is required. In my case, my use of rubrics was of interest and I was able to share specific lessons, rubrics I created and student work samples in several content areas. The ability to upload immediately demonstrated my ability to respond to requests quickly as well as my organization and technology skills. The job offer that I accepted was the one where the process was all online, except for the one concluding phone call. At the time of the fair, though, I had only sent this school my CV and resume…”“I woke up later than I anticipated, but really was taking my time, I think, to feel in control. I didn’t want to be one of the first to arrive and the days schedule was long. By the time I walked across the parking lot to the conference rooms I was nervous again. There was so many people! Going into the candidates “lounge” where the rooms walls were covered in sheets of paper listing the school, country and positions available, I noticed that most people had an intensity that I wanted to resist. The tables were covered in laptops and I started to regret not bringing Brett’s, but I travel light. I did end up using the hotels business center at a cost of $5 for fifteen minutes and calling Kelina to go online for me quite a bit…”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Check out the experiences of another international school teacher who starting their international school teaching career later in their life.
Our 7th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Viewpoints.” This teaching couple seem to be quite experienced in the international school community, having worked at more than 3 international schools. The part of their blog that we would like highlight is about their experience living in China working at Dalian American International School.
Entries we would like to highlight:
What is Viewpoints?
“Viewpoints is a blog that stimulates discussions about collective cultures, ideas, fears and hopes. As an American educator living in China, I have a unique opportunity to focus on the world from a different perspective. Through Viewpoints, relevant issues are explored. I’m a 59 year old educator leaving the US this August for China.”
What an interesting point of view this international educator must have!
Linear or Circular?
“I became a new teacher, beginning a new life in my late thirties to be closer with my children, and though I was unaware at the time, I was just starting a metamorphosis. My new life in teaching had become my sanctuary, as it began spinning out of control, and sending me on a lifelong journey to new worlds. I was learning to teach day by day, and discovering the how challenging teaching really was. As a teacher I’ve always felt that I have been evolving on a daily basis, always experiencing and learning something new, about teaching, about people and most important about myself.”
How great to view teaching as a sanctuary.
“First there was the issue of money, China would be the farthest trip taken and the issue of family finances was a concern. Another reason was that I was meeting my son Matthew, who had been in China teaching and Kay felt that it would be a great father son time. the final reason was that Kay really was not interested in traveling China, since it was well beyond her comfort zone. China was so different from anything she had ever experienced, and I was soon understand her concerns.”
We all have been in this situation; having family members not being able to visit us because of financial constraints or because that visiting would be very much outside their comfort zone.continue reading
International School of Brescia in Italy.
Looks like a great, small international school.
What great classrooms in the video. They look so inviting. With Smartboards and every students having access to I-pads, teaching at this school wouldn’t be that bad at all!